Leinster’s expedition to South Africa hasn’t been without its problems. First, Jamison Gibson-Park and Isa Nacewa were denied entry to the country due to visa issues and then Cian Healy was asked to leave the team’s plane when the squad departing for Cape Town during the week.
Cheetahs 38 – 19 Leinster
On the field at least, the eastern province cruised to a victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth last weekend and although the Cheetahs recorded their first win over Zebre at the weekend, not many gave them the chance against one of the tournament’s favourites.
However, the Cheetahs produced an excellent opening 40 minutes and they led 19-5 at halftime thanks to the boot of Ernst Stapelberg and a try from William Small-Smith just before the interval. Saying that, Leinster’s indiscipline in the opening 40 cost them and Stapelberg duly obliged.
The second half couldn’t have been worse for Leinster, they lost James Tracy to the bin and the home side mauled it over from close range soon after. Their powerful maul was again the source of their next score when Ox Nche went over to make the scoreline 31-5 with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Credit to Leinster, they were determined to get something out of this game as they scored a brace of tries through Barry Daly who completed his hattrick after going over for a try in the first half. Leo Cullen’s side were pushing for another score which would have secured a losing bonus point and a try bonus point but the excellent awareness of Luther Obi led to an interception and Leinster left Bloemfontein pointless.
After a lot of negative reaction to the South African sides’ performances so far, this was the kind of result the competition needed and it also proves that travelling to Bloemfontein will be no easy task for the rest of the teams in the PRO14.
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